How do Musicians Promote Music
Learn Music marketing strategies right from the artists using them
Social media’s rapidly changing landscape is like the Wild West — it’s easy to hit a plateau and not know what to do or where to go next.
If your music career is lacking brand awareness and exposure, you’ll get some great music marketing strategies on this article for promoting your music online.
I get emails from my music industry readers asking for more marketing strategies so I thought I would ask some of my friends what they use so we can all compare notes.
When it comes to establishing a career as an artist, it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
Many artists stay small because they look at streaming like it’s the route to greatness. It’s actually not. Streaming is a tiny piece of a much bigger puzzle.
Here’s why streaming is not the only way people should be getting to know your music..
Do you think Drake would be news worthy if he just had some songs streaming on spotify but no fans to talk about the music?
You can’t sell concert tickets to your spotify streaming numbers because streaming is a passive action and there’s very few opportunities to reach those passive listeners.
To understand more about marketing, you have to first know the difference between passive and active listeners.
A passive listener does alot of listening on Spotify. They listen to playlists while they drive, clean, work or workout. A passive listener has habits like saving songs to a playlist (which is active) but typically needs to hear a song several times before stopping to search out more from an artist they are listening to.
Most passive listeners turn on a playlist and leave it playing which is great for your streaming numbers but not helpful for building your brand.
Musicians who build a brand do better with the majority of music listeners because people know to search the name of the artist when they want to hear a particular kind of music or song that they like.
When you become known for a certain song release or style of music, you can become searchable. Until then, you have to work to define yourself in that arena.
Over all, a passive listener is pretty much every listener just browsing and listening to music.
An active listener typically refers to the point at which a passive listener becomes an active listener. The phrase, defines the moment a listener ads action to their listening experience.
Active listeners seek out musicians by name. They seek bio info and get to know their favorite artists on a more personal level.
They go to the spotify profile and click through to social media to look at what you offer.
Active vs passive listeners are much like the people who scroll on instagram vs people who comment and follow.
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Typically people don’t become active fans from a streaming platform until something happens to emotionally solicit this response.
- This can happen over time and through more than just one passive listen.
- You can have a particular track that resonates with that listener.
- They can see your video and hear your voice and become an active listener.
- They typically reach out to you personally with a message or comment.
- They join your email list and keep up with your progress.
- An active listener is one step closer to becoming a super fan/ buyer.
Now that you know more about how people listen to music and why it’s important to turn passive listeners into active listener, let’s look at how music should be marketed.
As a music marketing specialist, I work with alot of labels as well as indie artists.
I see two main differences in the way they marketing music.
- The labels I work with roll out new singles more often because they have the funds to keep the first one in play while we roll out the second release on it’s back. Having more music in promotion just allows you to grow faster. Especially as each new single brings another avenue to the marketing and the target audience.
- Marketing with a larger budget allows us to capture more real estate. That’s evergreen internet space that recommend an artist. For the artist it helps to increase exposure, raise brand awareness and gains plays on your video or Spotify. Larger marketing budgets leave room for your team to create content around your music and brand. It’s essential.
- They have a marketing strategy with a goal. There’s always an objective set in the campaign. This could be to become more discoverable on social media, drive more spotify streams (passive listens) or establish more brand awareness through internet articles, press releases and discoverable support content.
Usually, you need to get as many singles in process of promotion as possible.
Especially in the beginning when you don’t really have an audience base yet. or recognizable brand established. Holding anything back just doesn’t serve your purpose.
When you have a solid audience you then can go with a different strategy dividing up the number of releases you will put out in a year and divide them up by 52 weeks in that calendar year.
Think small, stay small.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in smaller wins and not really see what’s going to accomplish the most with the time and budget you have.
Most indie artists don’t last because they focus on the wrong things. When that doesn’t work, they get burned out and forget why they started.
Spotify is great for one thing, which is making music available and measurable but it’s just a social media page. Just focusing on that number makes you stay small.
It’s important in one way to show streaming success but people play music so passively and that never translates to fans unless you are also doing brand awareness marketing against that same group of listeners. (niche marketing)
In the larger picture, it’s just a small piece of what’s most important which is building active fans with Brand awareness.
(If you want to work with me on a Music Brand Awareness Campaign, Click here: )
Active fans bring you everything from streaming success to merchandise sales.
They share stories and music on social media and they interact with your brand in public. (wear your shirts, listen to your vinyl, talk about your music, show up to shows, share your music on their social pages, etc.)
A great marketing strategy gets people to look further into your talent, history and story.
This is why you need to look for ways to develop an active audience.
- News articles with a story
- Press releases to websites and music curators.
- Social media pages that cater to your audience and demonstrate your craft and skills. (Highlights that tell your back story)
- Micro blogging that tracks your history and journey to your current release.
- A mailing list that keeps your most active fans close to you.
- Incentives and rewards for active fans.
Now that you have the basics of the music marketing picture, let’s look at what some of my musician friends had to say when I asked them about their plans for music marketing this year..
- I use AVALIVERADIO as my number one choice for promoting my music and getting on playlist and letting people within social media know who I am and my brand.
- Using social media is a great way of promoting your music to people my noble one choice on that this Instagram 2nd would be Twitter.
- Getting on some sort of Podcast is a great way for promoting your music through story telling.
- I am using Twitter and Instagram to promote my music
- Keeping an email list (mailchimp) is really important so I can tell fans when we release new singles, albums, and videos.
- It’s important to make a good impression in your industry. I still send packages of vinyl out to record stores and vinyl collectors.
- Promotion is important. Being an independent artist takes thought and time to vet the right relationship to trust with your work. One source of course is A.V.A live radio. I have years of building with them, I trust them with my craft.
- Self promotion with Instagram and mass emails help.
- Also Dj’s: I share my music with every dj I meet and ask them to spin it if they like it and it works.
When it comes to promoting my music I try to think of direct & indirect ways of support:
- For example, I have built over the years in the DMV area a name for myself as a tough personal trainer/fitness instructor. So, one way I indirectly promote my musician side is by having a section on my fitness website (Phab Fuzion) called “Support Small Businesses” that will direct those who visit my site to learn additional things about me or give my fitness clientele an opportunity to listen to my music and support that area as well.
- I always believe in creating a marketing plan based on the length of time and budget for all my music projects. For example, it can be as simple as creating a few promo posts/videos together and spacing them out over the weeks for those who are limited in their funds.
- I believe in showing love as much as possible to those who show it back. With this said, I tell artists one of the best ways to promote your music is taking the time out to spend on social media with your fans/music supporters. Building a genuine following while being yourself goes a long way. So never rush this process.
- I promote myself mostly on Instagram. I find it efficient as Instagram also allows me to post to Twitter, and Facebook. I also am able to have my link.tree link in my bio which helps my fans connect to my music as well.
- Also word of mouth 👄 through friends and family. Another way I promote myself to someone I speak with while out somewhere when the conversation arises of what I do.
- I’m currently making a new website for my music, so I’ll also start promoting through there with my email list.
- I also just started my YouTube channel where I’ll promote my upcoming events, music and live shows.
- I gave out free stickers to my fans who pre-saved my single and asked my friends and family to repost my songs.
- I got a local news paper to review my song and did a massive campaign with AVA Live Radio which brought me almost 70k new listeners on spotify and landed me a top spot on their Indie Songwriters Top 20 chart and well as the Summer chart.
- I gave weekly livestreams on social media!
- I do use Instagram often to put out pictures and some behind the scenes things.
- My focus is on outreach: I research potential publication & blogs to submit my music to.
- I also use a network of contact I have gathered over the years like Jacqueline Jax from AVA Live Radio which has brought me more than 200k streams on my music and in the Top 5 of the Summer charts during the release of my latest single.
Three ways I’m promoting my music are.
1. I make the distribution of my music on the well-known platform like Tunecore, Distrokid, CDbaby, and others for my album or single, etc…
But nowadays, I saw that it is not necessary to release a full album on the same date but just a single. It’s preferable to release a single each month or two months because of the algorithm of the platforms that only consider only one song of your album during the broadcast, especially on Spotify with the rotation of the playlist.
2. I do promotion of my music on social media like a dedicated pro-Facebook artist page, on Instagram, Spotify for artists, and with a campaign. The last internet radio campaign was with Avaliveradio about my latest single released in July 2020 to be in Release radar playlist which is successful with lots of streams in less than two months.
3. Is to produce music video clips about my songs from my album or single broadcasted on the Youtube channel because I understand that nowadays we are living in a civilization of images and your music cannot exist if you do not have music videos about your visual universe and your songs.
*I could say that there is still the need for performing your music live in front of your audience but with the covid19 it’s not easy nowadays.
How do you Promote Your music?
We hope that this article helps you out with ideas and gets you on the road to greatness.
Thanks for reading.
Article by Jacqueline Jax